The Indian Girls in Trouble
PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
A few weeks back, The Times of India published an article “Shame: Delhi still India’s rape capital”. This article by V Narayan says, “Delhi continues to be the rape capital of the country, followed by Mumbai. Delhi registered 568 cases of rape, compared to 218 in Mumbai in 2011, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics showed. In the period of 2007-2011, Delhi topped the chart, followed by Mumbai, Bhopal, Pune and Jaipur.” This article was very much shocking and disappointing for me because it reminded me of a renaming ceremony held somewhere in late 2011, in a central Indian district of Mumbai. In that ceremony more than 200 Indian girls chose new names for them just to give a fresh start to their life. These were the girls whose names meant “unwanted” or “disliked” in Hindi language. The Indian media took that event as the beginning of a revolution regarding the sorry plight of women in India. Various channels were hopeful that this revolutionary start up would help fight widespread gender discrimination that has given India a tilted gender ratio; more boys than girls. They were confident that this courageous change would bless the Indian women with new dignity and an uplifted social status. But this recent article of the Times of India exposed that unfortunately the scenario is still the same.
The story doesn’t come to an end here. According to the details provided by the Indian media, recently a survey was conducted by ‘Thomson Reuters Foundation’ which suggested that India is still the worst country for women. Nineteen of the world’s developed and emerging countries were included in the assessment survey in which India was placed on the top of the list of the countries where life for a woman is not less than hell. Social prejudice, dowry abuse, domestic violence and under-age marriages are the basic elements which are promoting this gender discrimination. Moreover Hindu religious customs also play a very vital role in sponsoring gender discrimination in Indian society. The situation is so worse that even many Muslim families have also adopted this menace as a part of their culture. Be it a Hindu family or the Muslim or Sikh family, no one is ready to welcome the birth of a female child. The Hindus are more prejudiced in this regard because according to the Hindu traditions only sons can light their parents’ funeral pyres.
Julie Mullins writes in her article Gender Discrimination, “Sex-selective abortions are even more common than infanticides in India. They are growing ever more frequent as technology makes it simple and cheap to determine a fetus’ gender. In Jaipur, a Western Indian city of 2 million people, 3,500 sex-determined abortions are carried out every year. The gender ratio across India has dropped to an unnatural low of 927 females to 1,000 males due to infanticide and sex-based abortions.” According to a research report prepared by a multi-institutional team of Boston University School of Public Health researchers, more than one in four women belonging to the low-income Mumbai community have to face violence or other forms of maltreatment from in-laws during pregnancy or after giving birth. The research report referred to a number of women who complain that they are always pressurized by their in-laws to become pregnant, the in-laws make decisions regarding the timing of conception or abortion and dictate who is going to take care of the child. The situation becomes more painful for the unfortunate mother if unluckily the new born baby is a female child.
Physical harassment leading to sexual exploitation and rape is another grave threat to the women in India. Helen Pidd is a well-known writer and a reporter on the Guardian UK. Last July she penned down a very comprehensive and informative article in the Guardian. The title was, ‘Why is India so bad for women?’ In this article she referred to a female newsreader on NDTV who said “We have a woman president, we’ve had a woman prime minister. Yet in 2012, one of the greatest tragedies in our country is that women are on their own when it comes to their own safety. No respect for women. No respect for our culture. And as far as the law is concerned: who cares?”
The Indian media particularly the electronic media is no doubt one of the best in the world. Blessed with a lot of skill and talent and with an urge of performing in the best possible manner, the Indian electronic media tries to depict the true picture of the Indian society through various feature films and TV dramas. It is the result of its professional perfection that the artistic but very much realistic creations of Indian electronic media are very much popular with the viewers in the neighbouring regional countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal and China. In short the stories of women rights exploitation in the Indian society are getting very popular in these neighbouring societies also. It is the responsibility of the concerning regulatory authorities of the neighbouring countries to keep a vigilant on the hazardous and disastrous effects of these programs in the larger interest of their people.